It was 1973. Bored on a Sunday afternoon, my boyfriend and I were strolling the local mall. Let me set the scene: no smart phones, no cell phones, no texting, no MP3 player, not even a Walkman! We played 8-tracks in my VW Beetle and I kept getting the default LP record album from Columbia Record House every month (I couldn’t ever seem to get my card returned in time).
As we strolled, we spotted a funny-looking machine with a tv screen that sat unobtrusively along one wall. As we began to pass by, we noticed electronic lights on the screen; a single, small white square moving back and forth across the screen that would bounce off of two small vertical dashes moving up and down, one on either side of the screen. Whatever this was, it seemed to be on the fritz! But it was intriguing nonetheless. We moved closer.
Now, living in the age of analog pinball machines, we were well versed in the fact that if there’s a slot for a quarter, it must be a game! Without even reading the instructions, we dropped what would turn out to be the first of MANY a quarter. I commandeered the left paddle, he operated the right paddle — Game On!
Returning to the mall over the next few weeks, it was fun learning the exact split second to turn the dial so the “paddle” hit the “ball” to get it past the opponent. And the longer the volley, the faster the ball moved.
It wasn’t long before the trip to the mall was a must. Life as we knew it would change forever. Because the digital age was made available to the common man through a video game.
And that’s what makes Pong the best game ever.
I found a great website if you’re looking for the history of Pong. Check it out HERE.
But if you’re like me and want to PLAY it again, BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) has a great (and FREE) online game of Pong. Click HERE.
And then, just for fun, watch this video: